We’ve given Tim Langdell a wide berth (like, for nearly two years) rather than assault you with incremental developments in the legal proceedings involving his ridiculous, all-encompassing trademark claims to the word “Edge.” But we’ll check in now, as a court ruling in the U.K. affirms what many have long suspected: His entire operation is a sham.
Let’s recap: Langdell’s ownership of the mark “Edge,” which dated back to a PC gaming studio established in the 1980s, was widely known and widely resented, but lurked beneath the waves, unchallenged, for many years. It’s partly the reason why Soulcalibur‘s predecessor took the name Soul Blade in the west, rather than Soul Edge.
In 2009, the removal of an iPhone game called Edge, demanded by Langdell, created a huge stink. In the aftermath, Langdell was kicked off the board of the International Game Developers Association and, in 2010, lost his U.S. trademarks in the settlement of a suit brought by Electronic Arts.
Anyway, much of what EA alleged — that Langdell falsified documents and specimens used to obtain trademark registrations — has echoes in the latest ruling, coming in a case involving Langdell and Future Publishing, whom you may know from such games industry magazines (and accompanying websites) as EDGE.
The two actually had a licensing agreement at one point, dating back to 1994, when EDGE sought to trademark its title and ran up against Langdell’s Edge Games, then only four years old. But Langdell took the relationship a step further, claiming in his IGDA bio that his brand had “spawned EDGE magazine.” That’s called “passing off” and there’s actually a law against it. Then, in a retcon that fooled no one (least of all this British judge), Edge Games’ logo looked curiously a lot like the magazine’s.
Langdell claimed Edge Games’ logo (the one that looked like the magazine’s) was actually created in 1991, and its original copy was on a 1991 floppy disc that was too delicate to ship to the court. Not buying it, the court said cough it up, and the disc was sent to a third party for analysis.
They found the file had been created with Windows 95.
There is a staggering, longwinded tale of bullshit that flows from this, and courts being courts, every ridiculous “yes, but” claim Langdell makes when his deceptions are discovered engenders a new round of by-the-book verification and then proof that he’s lying. So the writeup is quite long.
The bottom line is a painful two-year process initiated by serious parties who make genuine contributions to the games industry has, at last, fully lanced the boil on its arse.